Ecommerce


Reasons why I no longer sell on Amazon 1

Today I requested closure of our Amazon.com seller account after four months. I have briefly listed below the main reasons for the cancellation. You can read more detail of our initial problems with amazon holding our money and not paying us.

    Selling on Amazon was too competitive for our type of product, which means little to no profit. Amazon’s 15% cut on sales plus $40 per month pro merchant account fees took most of the profit.
    Too much time to manage orders. I wrote programming to allow order imports based on an “order report” from amazon so speed things up. However, entering tracking numbers and constantly requesting feedback to keep our account open was tedious time consuming.
    On Amazon, buyer wins all disputes no questions asked as Amazon takes your money immediately. If the buyer supplies you with an incorrect shipping address, it’s on you to pay the UPS reroute fees and/or reship the product.
    Zero Customer Service. You’ll never talk to a real person and will only get prefabbed customer support responses.
    Amazon works hard at keeping the customers purchasing though their site. The only way we could earn any money from these customers is if they purchased directly from our online website for follow up orders rather than use Amazon and that was not happening. Amazon will not provide you with the customer’s email address and they’ll suspend your account if you include any hyperlinks or your store name in any communications to them. Smart on Amazon’s part, but keeps sellers from making any money.
    The last straw is when Amazon again started holding our money. They’re holding $8,000 of our money as “reserve” and instead paying us only a few hundred dollars of our money ever other week. They are holding it for 90 days! That’s money I’m paying interest on while they’re out spending it! I cannot continue to finance this business relationship where we’re making little to no profit in hopes that we’d increase customer orders directly to our website, which unfortunately isn’t happening.



Good bye Amazon!


USPS Click N Ship First Class Mail 9

If you’re like me and you run an internet business, cheap first class mail for packages weighing less than a pound would be a great savings over priority mail.  However, USPS does not offer first class mail with their online click n ship tools.  They’ll direct you to another third party site like stamps.com that make you pay a monthly fee in order to print first class postage online.  How is it that other third party companies can figure out USPS’s business better than they can?

My chat with their customer service on the topic:

Mary : I understand you are having an issue with first class labels.
nick: hi mary
Mary : First-Class Parcels, Parcel Post, Media Mail, Bound Printed Matter and Library Mail are not available Click-N-Ship services at this time. We may add these services for future enhancements at a later time; however, in the meantime you may want to visit one of our other PC Postage USPS Approved Providers at PC Postage Providers.
nick: that link doesn’t work
nick: so other 3rd party providers are able to figure it out before you guys?
Mary : They may add them on in the future, however shipping methods such as First Class and Parcel Post are based solely on weight and destination. As most consumers do not have scales to enter in weight accurately, packages with insufficient postage would be returned.

Selling on Amazon.com sucks! 145

Finally! A class action lawsuit against amazon for screwing their sellers!

Contact Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC to participate.
More info on the lawsuit:
http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2020568463_amazonsellersuitxml.html
http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2019705292_amazonseller18.html

Amazon.com will screw you if you’re a seller!

1. They will hold your money for months while they “review” your account.  Nobody is actually reviewing it and you can’t talk to anybody as they explicitly state “we are unable to offer phone support”.  I’ve been selling on amazon.com for nearly three months and last month they started holding my money while still allowing me to sell.  After the 30 day “review period” where they held my money, then suspended my account for another 30 days, “but may take up to 45 days…” .  I have a good track record and good feedback on amazon.com.

2. Amazon.com will regularly supply you with outdated customer shipping addresses and will hold you responsible for paying the UPS address correction fees.  My suggestion of requiring customers to verify their shipping address before ordering was not taken seriously.  I was told this is a “business expense” and I’ll have to eat it or cancel my account with them.

Amazon’s notice of account suspension

Take note of their reasoning for holding our money and account suspension – “Because your sales volume or inventory level is not supported by sufficient buyer feedback or established sales history”.  Also, they want me to email them a bunch of data to expedite the review (that nobody is performing) including “Tracking numbers of items shipped with corresponding Amazon.com order numbers”.  This is a request for information they already have!  We’ve provided tracking numbers and timely shipments for all orders.

Hello from Amazon.com.

As previously stated, we have been conducting a review of your Amazon.com selling account. Because your sales volume or inventory level is not supported by sufficient buyer feedback or established sales history, your selling privileges will be suspended and your funds will be reserved in your Amazon Payments account for up to 30 days.

During this review we will be evaluating the performance of your account, including customer feedback and A-to-z Guarantee claims received. It is important that you continue to fulfill any orders completed before the removal of your listings, as we will use buyer feedback from your orders as part of the review.

While our review can take as many as 30 days to complete, you may be able to expedite the release of your funds by providing us with the following information:

1. Tracking numbers of items shipped with corresponding Amazon.com order numbers
2. Current retail or online sales channels including links to selling pages
3. Detailed explanation of your business including your source of inventory
4. Amount of inventory you plan to list for sale on Amazon.com and availability of items for delivery

Please e-mail us at merchant-approval@amazon.com to provide us with information regarding your seller account. Amazon sellers can confirm shipments in Seller Central or seller account by clicking the “Orders” tab and then clicking “Confirm Shipment” for the orders.

We will evaluate the information that you provide to us and respond accordingly.

You will be notified via e-mail when our account review is complete.

Regards,

Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com

 

And their automated response to my email message

Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.com,

We are currently reviewing your Amazon Selling Account. We will respond to your inquiry within the next business day.

While we review your Account, your funds will be reserved in your Amazon.com Payments account for up to 30 days. Although we will delay the transfer
of funds to your bank account, we will continue accepting orders for items you list for sale on Amazon.com. Once your funds have been released, you
will be notified via email, and funds should arrive in your bank account within 5 business days.

You may be able to expedite this review by providing any of the following information if you haven’t already:

* You may submit tracking information for your shipments. Please include the corresponding 17-digit Amazon.com order numbers with any tracking
numbers. This information may be submitted in plain text, Word or Excel formats
* You may also give us information about any other channels through which you sell.
* We also encourage you to send a friendly reminder to your buyers requesting that they leave feedback on your account after they have received
their orders.
* If you are currently being reviewed due to recent poor performance, you may submit a plan to for improving your selling performance to
seller-performance@amazon.com

While tracking and/or sales information may help expedite the review, it may still be necessary to wait the full review period before funds can be
released. Reviews are typically completed within 30 days, but may take up to 45 days if deemed necessary. We will inform you if that should be the
case.

Please note that, due to the volume of information we receive, we are unable to offer phone support to accept this information or expedite the
review. For this reason we ask that any pertinent information be submitted via email to merchant-approval@amazon.com. We will evaluate the
information you provide and respond accordingly.

It is important that you continue to fulfill your orders and list only
items that you will be able to deliver during this process. Once we have completed our review, we will notify you via e-mail. Please note that
until then, the “Transfer funds to bank account now” link will be visible in your Amazon.com Seller’s account, but transferring funds will not be
successful.

We would like to thank you for your patience during this process.

Best regards,

Merchant Approval Department

 

What now?

Contact Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC to participate in the class action lawsuit against amazon for these reasons.
Also, sign this petition as I did http://www.change.org/petitions/amazon-crushes-small-business-marketplace-sellers

The practice of holding people’s money, in this case thousands of dollars, for stupid reasons like this shouldn’t be legal.  Here is another blog on the same topic http://vorg.ca/1065-Selling-On-Amazon.com-Sucks .  The two complaints I’ve mentioned here are also mentioned frequently by other sellers on this blog post.  One comment on this blog was the following –

“I used to work for amazon (work at home) and guess what, If you sell at amazon, we will take all your money!

If you sell over $1000 a month. Your account well be investigated and guess what, all the money coming in will be forwarded to our account. And guess what? I get 50% of all accounts being investigated.

haha. Keep on selling!!!
comment by Amazon on March 27, 2005″

I do not know if this user comment is legit, but it seems pretty inline with what is going on.  I am unsure what to do at this point other than fill out the better business bureau complaint form that is open in my other browser tab.   Do you have a similar experience selling on amazon.com?  How do you get your money from them in a timely manner?

Probably the best thing you can do is file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org/western-washington/business-reviews/internet-selling-services/amazoncom-in-seattle-wa-7039385/complaints. It seemed to get their attention when I did this.

 

Update 11/2012

I’ve been getting automated emails supposedly from a sales person (Ben Danzo) at Amazon – “I would like to discuss the possibility of bringing you on board as an Amazon Pro Merchant”. After sending him a link to this post and turning him down, I continue to get this same email from him every few weeks. This proves even their sales people are automated! There is nobody there!


Email marketing site comparison

I’ve used phplist on and off for the past couple years with no problems other than possibly getting my website’s mail server blacklists with ISP’s and a pathetic 5% open rate.  Some of these other sites out there tout very high open rates and delivery rates in the 98% range, which is awesome.  I created a product newsletter email and tested the free trails the sites offered and have shared my opinion below.  In the end, I went with icontact.com over verticalresponse.com because of the lower pricing, especially when the subscriber list reached 25,000 or more.

– Update 4/14/2005. My account was frozen by icontact after 24 of the 8800 emails were flagged by AOL as spam.  I talked to somebody from icontact and even though my email and method of gathering the email addresses was can-spam compliant, it was not up to their standards.  To use their service, I must have an opt in form on my website where they voluntarily, by double opt in, sign up for the mailing.  My customer list had to be removed and therefore I canceled my account.

www.icontact.com

Price: $62.90/month for up to 10000 subscribers

Trial: 15 days and allows you to send an email to 250 subscribers

Recipient Opens: 11%

Comments: The site has a lot of good tools, templates, spam score checker, html and text versions, and graphical reporting of results.  The only thing that annoyed me was the html editor literally took a full minute to save a draft of my html newsletter as I built it and ended up crashing my firefox twice before I gave up.  I switched to using… yes… IE7 and the save process was ten times faster and no more crashing.  I suppose I could put up with IE for creating newsletters with the right company only if I had to.  They also have a nice tool that will convert your html email into a text email for you with the click of a button.  This saves me from having to create a separate text based email.

www.constantcontact.com

Price: $75/month for up to 10000 subscribers

Trial: Allows you to upload a maximum of 100 subscribers.  Once you go over 100, your trial period automatically ends and you must pay.  What they fail to tell you is they’ve already added you to your own subscriber list, so if you upload 100 email addresses like I did, you’ll have 101 and your trial period will end until you make another account.

Recipient Opens: 9%

Comments: I was unable to figure out how to modify the text version of my email.  The site would send a text version, but it would be blank except for your name and address at the bottom, which is worthless.  They don’t have the pretty graph reporting that icontact and vertical response have.

Update 4/1/2009: In the past week I’ve received phone calls and emails from multiple sales reps from this company.  A little annoying since I had to tell multiple sales people that I was no longer interested.

www.aweber.com

Price: $69/month for up to 10000 subscribers

Trial: Their “trial” is really a money back guarantee.  You have to pay up front, then cancel afterwards if you’re not satisfied.  Sorry, homey don’t play that.  You guys just disqualified yourselves.

Comments: Lacking an easy to use, hassle free trial.

www.ezinedirector.com

Price: $20/month for up to 20000 emails

Trial: 249 subscribers/emails

Comments: Interface is not so much user friendly.  After you click submit on one of their forms, you’d expect this page to reload and advance to the next step, but it does not.  The page reloads and a little link appears on the page that you must click to continue.  Annoying.    When you upload your import list you must wait in a queue that processes one import every five minutes.  That right there tells me they don’t have a lot of customers.  Here is a good example of what I mean by bad interface… I was looking for the link to “create email” or something like that so I could paste in my html email.  I could not find this link.  I finally did find it… it was “schedule”.  Why would I click “schedule” if I have nothing to schedule yet? Ok, I created my email and clicked to have it sent.  Apparently it goes through a review process of some sort.   Once I found my way back to the main user dashboard, a message appeared that said my list was over the 249 subscriber limit and that my message would not send.  Dammit!  I was looking for the free trial limit everywhere and could not find it!  I’ve had it with this site.  I don’t even care if it’s free at this point.

Update 4/1/2009. I received three emails from these guys today and two of them were the exact same thing.  One of them was a bill for $19.50 because I had some “complaints” from my mailing list.  Complaints are recorded when somebody’s mail client flags the message as junk.  The second duplicated email is a notice that my “free trial” account has been suspended for non payment.  Give me a break; you guys are a joke.

untitled-1

www.listcast.com

Price: $20/month for up to 10000 emails

Trial: 200 subscribers/emails

Comments: Was not able to import a list of email addresses with the free version.  That’s dumb.  Why give me up to 200 email addresses and make me type them all in?  Also, they insisted that every email address get a confirmation opt in message before I could send to them.  That just disqualified listcast.com.

www.verticalresponse.com

Price: $72/month for up to 8000 subscribers

Trial: 30 days and 100 email max.

Recipient Opens: 11%

Comments:  User interface is very good as I was able to find what I wanted usually with in two seconds.  It has many templates and a “build your own” editor.  It also has the nice copy button where it’ll create a text version of your email with one click.  Very nice.  I was able to upload my list, paste in my email message, and schedule the mailing within 20 minutes.  Very good!  The message is pending a review to ensure it follows the CAN SPAM laws.  They review messages every couple hours, so no big deal.